The Drunk Diaries

Category:  News
Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 at 3:32 PM
The Drunk Diaries by Macala Leigey
Graphic: Shelby Kirk

You grab a cup, fill it up; in 20 minutes it’s gone. Fill it up again; in 10 minutes it’s gone. Fill it up one more time; you’re gone.

The warm, fuzzy sensation of alcohol swarms through your body. Your vision becomes a little too blurry, and you stumble with every step you take. The laughter, the noise, it all becomes one jumbled humming, and suddenly you’re in a different state of mind. You’re drunk.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, four out of five college students drink alcohol and roughly 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 obtain unintentional injuries while under the influence of alcohol.

With such a large national population of college drinkers, there is also a wide-range of experiences involving alcohol and types of drinkers at a university. What follows is the metaphorical, and intoxicatedly compelling “drunk diaries” of Edinboro University students.

The Underaged

“I got my first underage while walking back to my dorm. I was around Doucette Hall and I saw the cop car slowly drive by; they were going slow enough for me to tell that they were watching me walk,” said 20-year-old Edinboro University student Amani Harms about his underage experience.

Harms continued: “One of the cops got out of the car and asked if I was alright and where I was going. It was so obvious I was drunk, [so] the cop made me do the breathalyser test, which found I was way over the limit. He told me he was gonna have to take me back to the station, and then handcuffed me and put me in the back of the cop car.

“At this point, I’m seriously losing my mind. After I got to the station, they put me in this one-person room and handcuffed me to the bench in the room for like the next six to seven hours — until I was at a safe B/A (blood- alcohol) level. After I was okay [the police] gave me the citations, explained everything I had to do for it, [and] then took me back to my dorm.”

As a result of his underage, Harms is required to attend an alcohol awareness class and pay the fines he was charged with.

“I’m starting to regret it a little bit now. For some reason, I’ll never know why, I decided to split off from the group I was with, [and] if I hadn’t done that I probably wouldn’t have an underage right now,” said Harms.

He continued, “My advice is, if you’re planning on drinking way past your limit when you’re underage, make sure you’re with a friend, and make sure you will have a way to get back to a place you’re staying at when you’re done drinking.”

Roommates Shane Walden, 19, and Kodie Hanley, 20, also shared their experiences of getting an underage.

“We got busted probably the second week in. We weren’t even really doing anything; we were just sitting here [in their Highlands dorm] chilling, and all of a sudden we got a knock on the door and it was the police,” said Hanley.

He continued: “They came in [and] we took a breathalyser test. After that they just left us, and we got an email; we had to attend the drug and alcohol class, and with the suspension they took our license.”

Walden added: “As soon as the cops walked in, I started laughing. I sat back down [and] continued playing the video games, did not answer any questions until they made me blow into a breathalyser. They threatened to bring canines up in order to get me to blow into the breathalyser. That’s how I remember it.”

Walden also shared that receiving an underage hasn’t changed his perspective on drinking.

“I’m drinking right now actually. It hasn’t changed my view on alcohol.”

Hanley, on the other hand, has cut back on his drinking habits since receiving the underage.

“I probably haven’t drank since then. I rarely go out now. We were always out looking for something to do, and now it definitely changed our perception.”

The Typical College Drinkers

“Before college I drank, but I wasn’t experienced. Now in college my buddies and I go out pretty much four nights a week. I definitely drink more in college, but I don’t get completely wasted here because I want to be able to hold my cool and take care of myself,” said Edinboro University student Anne Mintsiveris.

She continued: “I’m the drinker who is drinking, but is also making sure my friends are getting home safe and taken care of when sick. I’m like the drunk mom.”

Mintsiveris also shared that she drinks because “it’s fun to cut loose with my friends; everyone is silly and laughing.” She continued, “I’m lucky enough to have friends who are happy and goofy drunks, so normally when we all hang out we have a few drinks too.”

“I was drinking with some friends this year for my birthday. We jammed out to some of the oldest songs from [the] early 2000s and all of my closest friends were there; we had the best time singing and dancing,” she said. “Everyone was happy; no fighting, no hasty decisions, just goofing around, making each other laugh with a bottle of tequila.”

Another frequent drinker, Anthony Jackson, shared his drinking experiences.

“I didn’t start drinking until like a month before college, because my parents thought I wouldn’t [drink] in college as much if I knew I could always drink at home. But I feel like coming to college hasn’t made me drink any more than I would, or any less,” said Jackson.

Edinboro University student Sarah West shared that she normally drinks in “social situations where I can go out and meet new people.”

West also advised underage drinkers to assign someone as the group “mom” when going out to drink, so everyone is taken care of.

The Mature Drunks

“I do think that I am a mature drunk, because I am able to make important decisions, such as not driving, and I can continue to take care of myself even though there are nights I may drink a little more extensively,” said 21-year-old Edinboro University student Grace Lehrian.

Lehrian continued: “I like to go to The Keg on weekdays, where I’m looking to catch up with a friend or for some good old bar food, but I do go to all of them [the bars] on the weekends I decide to go out. I sometimes find myself wanting a good house party every once in a while, [but] I like bars better.

She continued: “I’ve found that a lot of people that host house parties are constantly worried about getting busted. It kills the fun completely. I just figure since I’m of legal age, there’s no reason for me to go to a house that is constantly in fear of cops.”

Michael Graham, an Edinboro University student who recently turned 21, also shared how he manages his drinking habits.

“I’ve learned my limits with drinking, and I don’t let partying affect my grades. Time management is an essential skill at college, so I suppose planning out appropriate times to drink and knowing when I’m not able to do so makes me mature,” said Graham.

He continued, “I don’t think turning 21 significantly changed my drinking habits, but it does take some pressure off knowing that I’m no longer able to get an underage.”

Graham, being a member of the Edinboro University chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha, also shared that being a part of a fraternity hasn’t directly impacted his drinking habits.

“Being in a fraternity hasn’t influenced me to drink more. College students drink, regardless of their affiliation. If I didn’t join a fraternity, I’m sure I still would find outlets to drink. If anything, going Greek provided me with a support system of guys who’ll watch out for me while I’m intoxicated,” said Graham.

Sober Squad

“I have been pressured to drink before, usually by people who are unaware that I don’t drink. When someone tries to get me to drink, I simply just tell them that I don’t drink. Many people end up telling me they respect that and ask why I don’t,” said Edinboro student Cody Hartnett.

Hartnett continued: “I choose not to drink because I find it unnecessary. I never got into drinking, because I didn’t want it to become something I had to rely on or turn to. I turn towards God if I am struggling with something, not alcohol. I choose not to drink because I have God on my side and that’s all I’ll ever need.”

Hartnett, also a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, shared that “being in a fraternity doesn’t make it harder not to drink,” because when alcohol is present, he chooses not to be around it.

“I never want to be put into a situation that I will regret,” said Hartnett.

He continued: “You can’t drink away the problems you are facing or drink away the stress you might be dealing with. Try to find alternatives to drinking in order to deal with the things life throws at you. If you think that there is no other way to deal with life’s problems, think again. God is only one prayer away and he can fix anything way better than alcohol can.”

Edinboro sophomore Austin Horner and freshman Jonathan Cafaro have also made the lifestyle choice to not drink.

“For me, it’s because of family history,” said Horner. “What I’ve seen is how it can ruin someone’s life, [and] the family devastation that it can bring upon. I don’t want any friends, family, or my future kids to see what my mom or anyone else has gone through.”

He continued: “My mom passed away, and it wasn’t just because of alcohol, but alcohol was a big reason why I didn’t get to see her a lot of my life. She would be doing other stuff on top of alcohol, so seeing that, it didn’t appeal to me.”

Cafaro added: “I don’t drink much liquids to begin with, so I could just never really get into it (drinking), even if I wanted to. I’ve been in parties where I was one of the few that wasn’t drinking, but I didn’t really feel any urge to drink.”

He continued: “I think it all depends on the person. I know everyone’s different with alcohol and everyone has a different resistance to how much you can take. Be smart about it; don’t try to get intentionally drunk. Don’t overdo it.”

“I’ve seen plenty of my friends drink, and I know that they seem fine when I look at them, [but] they’re really not,” said Horner. “You don’t want to mess up your life just because you feel good when you drink. Doing that kind of stuff is no good for you, [and] it’s going to cause more harm to your body than anything.”

He continued: “It’s a life lesson that a lot of people gotta understand, because you’re not just messing around with your life. Yes, it’s your life, you can do what you want, but it affects everyone around you. Alcohol will ruin your life, unless you can control it.”

You wake up the next day, unaware of where your alcohol-deluded state of mind led you the night before. Head pounding, mouth dry, you try to recall your drunk adventures, rooting for any sign of reputable damage that may require immediate solace. With little success, you realize you’ve joined the national population of university drunks, and added another night to your collegiate drunk diary.

Macala Leigey can be reached at 

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